Tag Archives: Boston

Get Your Craft on at DIY Bar!


Image result for Boston Bars

Image result for Boston Bars

One of the things I love most about Boston is the eclectic choices of bars around the city.  Some bars specialize on craft beers (my personal favorite kind of brews!) while others shift their focus towards a product strategy.  Either way, there’s always some random spot I haven’t drank at that I have to check out.

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With so many choices to choose from, the intriguing part is discovering what makes them tick.  Just a few nights ago I went into this awesome place called Four Winds Bar & Grill that had that neighborhood feel where the people would remember you.  Not only was the food amazing, but the bartenders were so friendly that I stayed a few more minutes after finishing my meal!  On a random note, I’ll post up a list of neighborhood bars around Boston if I find more.

Image result for Salem MA Bars

Image result for Boston Bars

Back to my point, cities like Boston or Salem have those unique restaurant or bars that customers remember.  Whether it is simply rotating drinks or having live music, there’s always some unique selling point that will keep your customers staying longer.  Audiences stay longer when there is an interesting theme within the bar.  Boston sure has some vivid bar themes, but a Portland, Oregon has a bar with a DIY theme.

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Nestled on 3522 North Vancouver Avenue is DIY Bar, a joint specializing in beers and craft projects.  DIY Bar opened in Spring 2017, a place where customers can choose from a variety of craft projects to work on while sipping on their favorite wine, cider, or beer.  Projects range from easy to hard and take about 1-3 hours to complete.  It’s the perfect joint to get your craft on while sipping on your favorite brew!

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DIY Bar definitely has a great unique selling point here!  The USP of providing fun crafts to do will pull audiences into the establishment, having them stay longer and drink more.  Other than the drinks, it’s a great craft place to socialize with other patrons about their work as well.  While the price may be high ($39 for each project!), it would definitely be worth checking out.

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We need more places like DIY Bar around this country.  What makes it so special is the USP of doing craft projects while drinking with your friends.  This is definitely a place I could see myself going with my friends in the future.

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This sounds like an awesome place!  I’ve been to bars that had arcade games (BitBar Salem and A4cade in Cambridge!), but this idea sounds really captivating.  Not sure if something like this is around Boston, but this would definitely fit well with the city.  As a matter of fact, Boston should think about establishing a bar with a writing theme to it (lots of famous writers started in Boston, FYI!).

Image result for Unique Bar

Image result for Unique Bar

There’s always some grand idea that’s part of the USP for a bar.  Sometimes you have to think outside the box to pinpoint your main theme for your audiences.  A bar or restaurant isn’t nothing without some USP that would distinguish itself from the competition (otherwise it’ll become another monotonous chain restaurant!).

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With that, I’m so grateful to stumble upon this awesome gold I dug up in the internet.  DIY Bar is definitely something to check out if you enjoy completing DIY craft projects.

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#MACannabisAdvertisingProposalsFAIL


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A major bill has been floating around MA since last week that showcases some interesting changes to the cannabis laws.  One surprising notice was that recreational cannabis products could be taxed as high as 28%, which is twice as high as the original format at 12%.  That number may be high, but there’s even some more shocking changes that must be discussed.

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Advertising could be SEVERLY limited under the proposed changes.  The new proposal would limit the use of radio, billboards, TV, print, and even internet (which could include social media!) for advertising cannabis companies.  These advertising tactics would be available ONLY if 71.6% of the audience is over 21.  None of the ads could be targeted to any under 21 nor can the users depicted in the ad as well.

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As a PR pro that delves into the creative advertising world, my first answer to these shocking advertising rules is ‘What…The FUCK.’

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71.6 of the audience over 21?  Where the hell in MA can the mad men lock down their targeted audiences for their ad campaign?  Boston?  Somerville?  Brighton/Allston?

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Seriously though guy…this is NOT good at all!  Aside from the tax issue (cannabis WILL be taxed since it’s such a useful commodity!), these ad proposals put a serious damper for the advertising business.  Creative directors, copywriters, art directors, media buyers, and all other creative geniuses won’t be able to launch their huge campaigns if they only cater to areas where 71.6 of the audience is over 21!  Cannabis companies WILL be shipping to Boston in the next few years and the severe lack of advertisements will only put the industry to a halt.

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To better explain this problem, let’s take Don Draper and his creative team from the Mad Men universe as our leading example (since Don is the sexy creative genius of the Mad Men world!).  Supposed Don’s team relocated to Boston and are working with clients within the cannabis industry.  Members of the cannabis companies meet with Don’s team to discuss the new ad campaigns they would be working on.

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Don’s team CAN work on drafting the ad campaign, but they won’t reach the large number of audiences they want to reach since the areas HAVE to be mostly over 21.  Their advertising strategies would only work in very few places in Massachusetts.  If Don’s team doesn’t reach the intended numbers after running the campaigns, then cannabis companies could take their business elsewhere (to a more 4/20-friendly state like California or Maine).  This would mean that most of the work coming from Don, Roger, Joan, Peggy, and Pete won’t be enough to keep themselves afloat.

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Image result for PR Team

Advertising agencies would want to work with the ever-trending cannabis industry to deliver the best advertising campaigns, but they won’t be able to do that if they can’t reach the amount of audiences they need. It will be a complicated challenge for the Boston mad men if the advertising proposals pass.  Cannabis’s image is heavily plagued by the PR nightmare caused by the Reefer Madness scandal and revitalizing PR tactics are our only solution.  To put it in another way, advertising is going to need some serious help from public relations on flourishing cannabis’s reputation before any amazing image can be shown.  The mad men do have the image (the pot leaf!), but that universal image must be repaired before any advertising tactics are set.

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While I didn’t go to Salem State University for advertising, this issue is still important to me as a former PR student.  Cannabis is the hottest new commodity sweeping the nation since being legalized and audiences are looking to get their hands on it any way they can.  With legality issues standing in the way of communicative creativity, business will become sluggish for industries like advertising and marketing.  They are many aspiring individuals in PR, advertising, marketing, journalism, and other areas of communications that see a brighter future through cannabis.  As the writer of entertainment PR stories at MakeSandcastlesNotWar, I take so much joy in informing the audience about the current cannabis trends.  It’s been such an honor to write about an industry that was once so taboo where it was troublesome to even talk about it (let alone smoke it in the open!).

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Recreational cannabis use is one of the hottest social issues here in America.  There’s a brighter future out there for the cannabis industry and we need the most creative mad men out there to showcase that future to ALL audiences.

Come Out, Fat Old Sun!


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It has been a dreary few days here in Massachusetts.  Clouds covering the whole skyline, with rainwater flying onto the streets.  The cool, misty breeze wafts into the building.  We’re into the first full week of June and the sun is not shining at the moment.

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Where are you, oh beautiful sun?  Why are you entangled above the clouds and not shining down on this beautiful earth?  How is it that you are not shining brighter than usual?  It’s only two weeks before summer solstice starts, so why aren’t you doing your job?

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To be honest guys, I really didn’t have a special idea brainstormed for a post today.  I was too busy staring off outside, pondering about when this gloomy and grey day will go away soon.  There seems to be no color outside, only grey and shades of grey on objects.  It’s as if all of the colors have blended into various grey tones.

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My solution to eradicating this gloomy feeling?  Pulling the damn sun from underneath the sky!  Forget the moon imagery from It’s A Wonderful Life, cause this time it’s about getting the sunshine out.  David Gilmour of Pink Floyd sang, “When that fat old sun in the sky is falling, Summer evenin’ birds are calling”.  That fat old sun isn’t falling, so those summer evening birds haven’t been calling yet.

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You know, it’s a funny thing about the sun –you never knew how much you appreciate it until you haven’t seen it in a while.  It amazes me what weather can do to human beings at sometimes.  Some people lose it when the weather is too hot outside (they probably can’t handle the heat!) while others go stir-crazy when being inside during a snowstorm.  Whatever the case may be, weather can certainly make us go crazy sometimes.

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The silver lining in this?  Warmer weather is expecting to come in by Saturday.  Alas, we will FINALLY see that fat old sun shining brightly this weekend!  It may be peeking out from under the clouds the next few days, but we will see it in all of its glory soon.  Other than the warmer weather, I’ll get to see some bright colors outside.

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Today’s post isn’t meant to discuss so much on the gloomy weather, but rather a yearning for sunnier days.  Where are you, fat old sun?  It’s the beginning of June and we should be seeing some bright sun here in Massachusetts!  This is should be the time where all colors pop out from the human eye.  I’ve already seen enough rain during the Spring season and this weather mix-up is just getting silly now.

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In the end, the sun really needs to come out right now.  Not just show up for a few days and leave, but actually stay OUT for days on end.  Seeing the grey skies in June really isn’t making June any more fun.

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So I ask of you, fat old sun…please come out!  Summer is just two weeks away and I’m eager to see you shining brightly.  The gloomy weather is really getting old and would love for you to come out soon.

Come on out, fat old sun.  I would love to hear the summer evenin’ birds calling!

Smokin’ Hot Surgeons Calling the Kettle Black


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Image result for Heart Surgeon

To start today’s post, I have an interesting story to share:  I was staffing for an event at the Hynes Convention Center this past weekend.  The event was catered to the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (in English, heart surgery).  My role at the event was line monitor, which was to monitor the pre-registration line to make sure things were running smoothly.

Once the line quieted down, I got to take a 15-minute break.  With my CBD vaporizer at hand, I went for a stroll outside.  What I saw outside was absolutely baffling to me.  I went out the doors to see members of the event…smoking cigarettes.

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Image result for Nurse Smoking Cigarette

Seriously guys…I was watching PROFESSIONAL heart surgeons smoking cigarettes outside of the Hynes Convention Center.  Some members smoked typical cigarettes while others smoked a cigar.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I witnessed surgeons having a smoke before heading back to their class.

Image result for Nurse Smoking Cigarette

Image result for Nurse Smoking Cigarette

Think about this for a minute:  these are licensed surgeons that work fixing the human heart to prevent it from stopping.  They were admitted into medical school for over TEN years studying everything they needed to know about heart surgery.  Ten years of studying, labs, homework, papers, and other school work and yet some of them smoke cigarettes during their break.  Cigarettes are the #1 cause of many heart problems in America and there are actually heart surgeons who smoke.  This observation was absolutely MIND-BLOWING to witness.  How do we have heart surgeons smoking cigarettes?  What happened?

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What happened?  AMERICA happened!  But in all seriousness, this is an interesting topic to discuss.  Employees in the medical field always caution us about smoking cigarettes every year.  Doctors and nurses ask us things like how much alcohol we drink, how much cigarettes do we smoke, do we smoke cannabis (if so, how much), and if we consume any other drugs.  Our doctors can only inform us about what’s causing the problem (there WERE doctors that advertised cigarettes on television, but that’s for another discussion!).

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In a surprising study, less than a quarter of doctors smoke cigarettes while nurses smoke twice as much.  While these numbers aren’t so high, it’s still alarming to hear of medical professionals smoking cigarettes during their break time.  The irony around this is that doctors/nurses advise us against smoking cigarettes, yet there are some that smoke during their free time.

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If we want to better understand this strange phenomenon, let’s shift gears from cigarettes to the obesity crisis.  Over two-thirds of Americans are considered overweight and about a quarter of people are obese.  Doctors and nurses always advise us to exercise on a daily basis as well as eating healthy food each week.  In a surprising twist, some of these doctors/nurses are overweight themselves (FYI, there are MORE overweight nurses than doctors!).  So not only do we have medical professionals smoking cigarettes, but now there’s some that are overweight or obese!

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Public Relations deals with the reputation of a company or businesses.  Medical professionals have a serious moral/ethics code to abide by and keeping a clean record is a serious deal.  One misstep and they could jeopardize their entire careers to the point where they lose their medical license.  Are cigarette smoking and weight issues part of the moral and ethics code that doctors/nurses abide by?  If not, then those destructive behaviors should definitely be added into the list.

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Image result for Grey's Anatomy McSteamy gif

I’m not saying that every doctor needs to look like McSteamy or McDreamy from Grey’s Anatomy (although that would be a perfect world to live in!), but they should consider what kind of example they are setting for their patients.  Patients will learn through EXAMPLES set by doctors or nurses that tell them how they can lose weight or what steps to take on quitting cigarettes.  If I were an overweight/obese patient coming in for a physical check-up, I wouldn’t be motivated to lose weight if my doctor or nurse wasn’t physically healthy.  How can doctors/patients expect us to be healthy if they can’t take care of themselves?

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Image result for Police Cop doing coke

Here’s another analogy to consider:  police cops are always advising us against drunk driving or doing drugs in this country.  They come into grammar schools to teach kids the dangers of drugs (cocaine, meth, alcohol, heroin, etc) and how they destroy your life.  It would be EXTREMELY unprofessional if those cops were to snort some blow or inject heroin after the lessons.  Kids aren’t going to listen to you once they catch you with that joint or needle you were about to use.  Doctors/nurses who smoke that advise us against smoking is the same as cops doing drugs while telling people to not do coke or smoke crystal methamphetamine.

Image result for Obese America

Image result for Obese America

Image result for Obese America

One last thing to consider with this ironic tale:  what if the problem was us?  What if the overall health in America has gone so downhill that medical professionals have turned to smoking to combat the stress of treating their patients?  Could the stress of so many unhealthy patients have created a snowball effect where doctors/nurses have given up on teaching us how to stay healthy?  Have we lowered the bar so far down that doctors have to smoke a pack (or two) of cigarettes to get through the day?  Is this what American healthcare has come to?  If doctors/nurses can’t set the right example for living a healthy lifestyle, than who can?

Image result for Healthy man

Image result for Healthy man

As a human being, I have very little health problems I deal with.  I eat right each week and I exercise every now and then (when I’m not at the gym, I am walking around Boston or doing some cardio exercise).  While I don’t smoke cigarettes myself, I do consume cannabis as well as vape CBD oil on a daily basis.  My doctor isn’t overweight/obese and I’m unsure if he smokes cigarettes during his free time.  I wouldn’t consider myself overweight (although I could lose some of that belly fat!), but I am well aware of many health problems going on in America.

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With that, hearing about doctors/nurses smoking cigarettes sends an eerie message to us patients.  If the rate of medical professionals consuming cigarettes or are overweight is increasing, then we really need to do a double-take on America’s healthcare system.  We don’t need to force every doctor to look like something out of General Hospital, but they should consider what kind of message they are sending to us.  An overweight doctor won’t motivate me to cut back on the pizzas and fried calamari if that’s all he eats every week.

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And as far as people’s health goes, maybe we need to stop our bitching and do the hard work necessary to live a longer life.  You and ONLY you can take the steps necessary to be healthier.  No doctor/nurse will provide you with some magic pill that will make you become just like them.  They follow the same diet/exercise routine just like everyone else.  Here are some tips if you want to look like McSteamy/McDreamy:  cut back on smoking cigarettes, exercise daily, and eat healthier every day.

MakeSandcastlesNotWar visits the New England Cannabis Convention!


It’s been days since 4/20, yet the cannabis celebration continues around Boston.  This year was Boston’s first 4/20 celebration after passing Question 4, the measure to legalize recreational cannabis use in Massachusetts.  Hundreds of cannabis consumers flocked to the Boston Commons (a.k.a. the most popular spot in Boston to consume cannabis) on April 20th to light up on this special day.  Passing Question 4 sent shockwaves for the state of Massachusetts, opening up a unique industry that was already booming in the West Coast.

With Question 4 passing last year, what kind of businesses will we see around Massachusetts?  What kind of cannabis culture will we see here in Boston?  Could Boston’s cannabis culture be different than the culture seen in Colorado or California?

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To get a sense of how the cannabis culture fits into the city of Boston, I took a trip to the New England Cannabis Convention.  This event was located at the Hynes Convention Center on Boylston Street in Boston; now in its 3rd year, it is the biggest convention dedicated to companies/organizations doing business for the cannabis industry.  A wide variety of businesses met with consumers to discuss what kind of work they conduct on a daily basis.  From growing supplies to consulting, every type of product or service was featured in one building.

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After scoping out the convention for the past few days, I found some inspirational companies looking to make it big here in Boston.  Some businesses had a unique take on the cannabis culture while others stood out for their interesting product that would make the cannabis experience much better.  Here were some notable moments I had to share about my experience at the New England Cannabis Convention:

Vendors

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Charlotte’s Web:  For the first vendor, I went to check out Charlotte’s Web.  Charlotte’s Web is the name for a high-CBD strain that was created by The Stanley Brothers.  The Stanley Brothers’ created the strain specifically for a young epileptic patient named Charlotte.  Charlotte is a young girl who uses CBD medicine to treat her ongoing seizures due to epilepsy.  Since using the CBD oil, Charlotte has experienced much less seizures than she did before.  This brand of CBD can be used as oil or capsules, depending on what works best for you.

CannaKorp:  My next stop was to CannaKorp, known for being the world’s first pod-based cannabis vaporizing system.  CannaKorp is manufactured in Stoneham and currently a patent-pending vaporizer that allows people to indulge with cannabis through efficient vapor.  You can choose from a variety of indica, sativa, hybrid, and CBD strains to vape with.  Each pod contains pre-ground cannabis flower that is sealed to lock in the flavor, freshness, and aroma for an amazing experience.

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AngryBuds:  When I passed by Angry Buds, I immediately thought of the game Angry Birds that was released more than 7 years ago.  Ironically enough, the company is releasing the game Angry Buds that is similar to Angry Birds (except that it’s with buds rather than birds!).  Other than the interesting Angry Birds reference, Angry Buds sells a wide range of products for a greater smoking experience.  Such products include grinders, vaporizers, papers, bud stuffers, containers, and other accessories.  The Angry Buds game won’t be released anytime soon and hopefully we will hear more of the game’s release sometime this year.

Kushley:  Kushley features organic products that eliminate the cannabis odor from the room.  Just a few sprays of the product and you can keep your room smoke-free.  Cannabis may be recreationally legal here in Boston, but not everyone is looking to join the Boston Pot Party!  Whether it is a conservative friend that doesn’t like the smell or keeping the odor away from kids, Kushley is available for any kind of situation.

Lifted:  Located in Santa Monica, Lifted looks to help businesses create mobile apps for the iOS, Android, or the web.  With cannabis prohibition slowly becoming a thing of the past, building a strong brand with a passionate following is crucial for cannabis companies.  Having a strong brand is critical for surviving the business world and Lifted looks to build up a long-lasting brand that consumers will remember.  This was a unique company that worked on cannabis brands rather than the actual product itself.

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Maine Green Scene:  Even though Massachusetts legalized recreational use last year, Maine has already been paving the way for the cannabis industry. Maine Green Scene is a business showcasing a directory of the cannabis culture in Maine.  From dispensaries to medical doctors, Maine Green Scene provides all the information you need to snag the best cannabis products.  Legal dispensaries won’t be opening their doors until early 2018, but you can still find a handful of medical products within the state.

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ProVerde Laboratories:  ProVerde Laboratories is one of a few medical cannabis testing labs here in Massachusetts.  It’s the company where science, technology, and cannabis all meld together under one business.  Testing for cannabis includes tests for THC, CBD, CBN, CBC, terpene profiles, and other data about the product.  This was a great company to check out because testing labs are so important in revealing what’s inside your cannabis flower or edible that you are consuming.

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Skunk Magazine/Linzy Heartwork:  While wandering through the last lap of the exhibit hall, I noticed the name ‘Shona Banda’ on the cover of the book Live Free or Die.  It took me a minute to realize that Shona was featured on Viceland’s show Weediquette last year.  Shona was interviewed for the episode titled ‘Stoned Parents’ where Shona discussed how her kid was taken away because he mentioned the term ‘cannabis’ while in school.  I was excited to talk with Shona Banda about her experience with cannabis and how she is paving for the fight against prohibition here in America.  It’s figures like Shona Banda that help push the fight for recreational cannabis use all across the country.

Miscellaneous

Other than the vendors, I walked through an art gallery that featured some infamous art work surrounding the cannabis culture.  Some featured pictures of the cannabis/hemp plant itself while other works revolved around the history of cannabis prohibition.  Here were some notable pictures I found within the art gallery:

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You heard it from the man himself, George Washington!

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‘The New Billion-Dollar Crop’: A headline that would’ve revolutionized the hemp industry had it been released in the 1930s.

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The man, the myth, the Harvard Professor himself – Dr. Lester Grinspoon!

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America’s most famous stoner duo…Cheech and Chong!

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A Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 – the stamp needed to grow cannabis/hemp, yet none were given out.

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Samuel R. Caldwell – America’s first victim of cannabis prohibition who was incarcerated in 1937.

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Famous ‘Reefer Madness’ posters that initiated the PR nightmare that destroyed cannabis’s reputation for decades!

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Harry Anslinger and Richard Nixon – two different political figures with the same goal to eradicate cannabis in the country.

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That was my infamous journey around the New England Cannabis Convention.  I had an amazing time meeting with people from different companies/organizations and learning about what they have to offer for the cannabis industry.  Recreational dispensaries haven’t opened up yet, but business will be BOOMING in Boston by summer 2018.  It has been a long road up until Question 4 passed, but all of our hard work will pay off once the cannabis culture is in full bloom.